Episode 236 with Ben Branam
Welcome to episode 236 of Self-Defense Gun Stories. We’re glad you found us if you’re well trained.. and also if you are new to self defense. I’m Rob Morse and we’re joined this week by firearms instructor Ben Branam.
Ben- Hi, Rob. I’ve been competing, teaching and learning to shoot a red dot sight on my handgun. It is harder and takes longer than I thought.. at least to shoot it in competition. I’m still carrying my gun with iron sights. And where have you been?
Rob- I’m sorry for missing our recordings. We had record rain and flooding, reports were between 6 and 20 inches in an hour. My house and computer got wet. We’ve been tearing out floors, walls, and insulation. We will have to move out of our house as the contractors move in.
While we were busy cleaning up the mess, the podcast received seven new ratings and three new comments on iTunes (237, 136). They liked the fast pace, our bright instructors, and some of the questions they might not discover on their own. Robbie shows our stories to a skeptical friend who thinks that self defense doesn’t happen. There are plenty of stories for us to talk about, but I won’t record when my feet are in a puddle.
Please go to the iTunes store where you subscribe to podcasts and let new listeners know what you would like to hear.
Ben- We defend ourselves with a firearm tens of thousands of times each week. We’ll see what we can learn from some recent examples. The links back to the original news articles are on our podcast webpage.
Our first story took place last week a few miles north of Houston, Texas.
Rob- First story- Are you armed at home in the afternoon?
Your boyfriend is moving out of your home. He is carrying his clothes out to his car just after noon when he threatens you. He grabs your head and headbutts you. He grabs your neck and chokes you. You fight your way free of him. You run into a back room to get your firearm. You turn and shoot your attacker who has followed you. Now your attacker stops. You back up and call 911. Police and EMTs arrive a few minutes later. Emergency Medical Services declares your attacker dead at the scene. Police said there were two small children in the home.
Ben- Didn’t give up and continued to fight even after taking damage. Figured out a way to win.
Rob– This is a harder problem than it appears at first. Tell me about domestic abuse.
Ben- Cycle of abuse always escalates.
Rob- Is domestic abuse very common, and what do you tell your students to do if they have a violent partner?
Ben- Get out! He/she needs serious help and until they get it, don’t be there. Get your friends to help, your family, start your legal defense with a call to the cops, get it on paper, run like your life depends on it, because it does. There are about 10 million cases of intimate partner violence each year.
Rob- My life depends on it?
Ben- Yes, unfortunately, more often than not, this cycle ends with one person killing the other.
Rob- I’m thinking about people who’ve been abused. Which comes first, a psychological recovery that allows us to consider defending ourselves or the physical security of being armed?
Ben- Mind set is always first, don’t be armed unless you can pull the trigger. It’s not a toy, it’s not for show.
Rob- Anything else? What would you like your students to do if they were in a similar situation?
Ben- That is enough for now. Our second story happened in Cleveland, Ohio.
Rob- Second Story- Are you armed at work?
Owner attacked by former employee with baseball bat
You own a small pizza parlor. You’re 61 years old. An ex-employee comes into your store near closing and calls you names. You tell him to leave. He hits you in the head and scratches your eyes. You close your store and walk out to your car. You see your ex-employee near your car holding a baseball bat. You run to your car and grab your gun. Your attacker moves toward you. You try to fire a warning shot at the ground but hit your attacker in the leg just above the knee. That stops the attack. You call 911.
Your attacker claims you attacked him, and the police arrest you.
Ben- Wasn’t hit in the head with a baseball bat, so that is good.
Rob- What would you want your students to do in this situation?
Ben- Cameras, call after the first attack and seek medical treatment for your injuries. Have your carry permit and go armed.
Rob- What is the problem with “warning shots?
Ben- We just found it. He got arrested and his attacker went free. We are either justified in using deadly force morally and legally or we are not. Defender saying, I meant to shoot the ground says he didn’t believe he was in mortal danger and had no right to use deadly force. Don’t be a hero, if you are in danger, say so and act appropriately.
Rob- Are attacks and robberies at food and retail establishments very common?
Ben- Yes, unfortunately. Most late night retailers and restaurateurs have a story of how they have been robbed. Be ready. We had over a quarter million robberies each year.
Ben- Our third story happened in Madera, California.
You and your husband are done shopping at Walmart. It is a little after 9 at night and you’re driving out of the parking lot. A man walks up to the passenger side of your car and shouts at you. Your husband is driving. He stops the car and gets out. The stranger runs around your car and charges your husband. The stranger has a knife and your husband yells as he backs up.
You own a handgun. You’re armed. You grab the gun from the console and get out of your car. You shoot your husband’s attacker one time. You call 911 and stay at the scene. You and your husband give a statement to the police. Emergency medical services transport your attacker to the hospital with a critical gunshot wound to the throat. The police reviewed the security videos from the parking lot. They say they have no plans to charge you.
What did your defender do correctly?
Ben- recognized, armed, defended, called. Looks like she hit her target at a distance in the dim light and on the move.
Rob- Is there more you’d like us to do?
Ben- Car carry is a poor substitute for carrying concealed. This couple would have been unarmed if they met the crazy man as they were walking to their car.
Rob- When would your students learn to draw a firearm from a holster, and when would they learn to shoot in low light like a parking lot?
Ben- Those are more advanced skills. Advanced skills are learning to do the basics under adverse conditions. Learn to shoot and to draw, then learn in the car, at moving targets, and in dim light.
Rob- Anything else?
Ben- Keep driving. Get to a safe place and call the cops. Both of you get your carry permit. Carry all the time. Give each other advise so you avoid problems.
Rob- I see a number of attacks in parking lots.
Ben- transition spaces. It’s where bad guys hunt.
Ben- Our fourth story took place in Dorchester, Massachusetts.
Rob- Fourth story- Are you armed in public?
You’re unloading your car at the local golf course. You hear a woman scream and look up. A man has a woman by the throat and is choking her. You grab your gun and run towards the victim. You shout for the man to stop. The attacker lets go and turns toward you. He has a knife in his waistband. He reaches for the knife and you shoot a shot in the air. You shout for him to stay still.
Police arrive a few minutes later. They arrest the attacker and arrest you. The woman works at the golf course and says her attacker choked her and told her to hand over her cellphone. The police release you, and charge the attacker with aggravated assault. Later, the attacker’s lawyer said he may have been off his medications.
Ben- Defense of an innocent third party. Recognized. Presented. Didn’t shoot.
Rob- Should the defender have shot the attacker?
Ben- Maybe; was she going to be killed by him immediately. How long has he been choking her? What kind of choke was it? What danger is she really in?
Rob- What would you like your students to do?
Ben- Decide now if you are going to get involved. Call police, get help, engage as a last resort. Don’t fire the gun in the air. How can you take a small, safe step to learn what to do?
Rob- Talk to me about the increased complexity of defending a third person.
Ben- Other than before, the big question is who is the good guy and who is the bad guy? And can you legally and morally do so? And can you live with yourself if you are wrong? Once they stop attacking each other what are you going to do? Problems here started for our defender. Domestic violence like, first story, they both will probably attack you.
Rob- What do you recommend to your students?
Ben- Learn your laws in your state. Some states don’t allow for mistakes while defending a third person.
Exit- Rob- that wraps up this episode. Ben, thank you for helping us again. Where can we learn more about you?
Ben- I live in San Antonio, and most of my classes are in central Texas where I teach armed self-defense and church security. Check my schedule and sign up for my classes at Modern Self Protection.com. You can also subscribe to my weekly podcast called Modern Self-Protection.
Rob- After you look at Ben articles, his videos, and his schedule, then leave us a message on the podcast facebook page.
Ben- We share this podcast with you for free.
Please share the podcast with a friend and give us a rating on I-Tunes and Stitcher.
We’re also available on
Google Podcasts, Tunein, Spotify, Podbean and iHeart Radio.
Rob- This podcast, like Ben’s show, is part of the Self-Defense Radio Network. Find more pro-freedom podcasts at sdrn.us
I’m Rob Morse. We’ll be back in a few weeks with more Self-Defense Gun Stories.